The Swans

Genres: Doo Wop Pop / Rock
Decades: 1980s 1990s 2000s


Like many early 80s American bands determined to stretch the boundaries of musical cacophony, the Swans were drawn to the thriving New York underground that also produced Jim Thirlwell (Foetus), Lydia Lunch and Sonic Youth. Although the band endured numerous line-up changes, the Swans always centred on Michael Gira (1954, California, USA; bass/vocals) and, from 1986’s Greed onwards, female chanteuse Jarboe, with bass player Algis Kizys (b. 1960, Chicago, Illinois, USA) also a permanent presence from 1987 to 1995.

The original line-up of Gira, Sue Hanel (guitar) and Jonathan Kane (drums) was only briefly together (their recordings later surfaced on the Body To Body, Job To Job compilation). Gira, Kane, Bob Pezzola (guitar) and Daniel Galli-Duani (saxophone) released a raucous debut EP in 1982. With a new line-up comprising Gira, Kane, Norman Westberg (guitar), Harry Crosby (bass) and Roli Mosimann (percussion), the Swans then released the...

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